While the right-wing tea party movement touts its rhetorical “aversion to big government,” a new Bloomberg national survey finds that many tea partiers are clamoring for more aggressive government action. The poll finds that large numbers of them want the federal government to act to create jobs and rein in Wall Street by restricting excessive executive bonuses:
At the same time, 70 percent of those who sympathize with the Tea Party, which organized protests this week against President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul, want a federal government that fosters job creation.
They also look to the government to rein in Wall Street, with almost half saying the government should do something about executive bonuses. Supporters are also conflicted over whether private-enterprise elements should be introduced into government programs like Social Security and Medicare.
“The ideas that find nearly universal agreement among Tea Party supporters are rather vague,” says J. Ann Selzer, the pollster who created the survey. “You would think any idea that involves more government action would be anathema, and that is just not the case.”
The poll also finds widespread disagreement about what comprises a “socialist” program run by the government. Only 10 percent of tea party backers agreed that the Veterans Administration, the country’s “only true island of socialized medicine” where the government directly runs hospitals and services for veterans, is socialist. Meanwhile, 47 percent of responders thought that Social Security and Medicare, both of which are government programs, should stay public programs and not be privatized.